Cinema Chat: The Cannes Film Festival Begins, and the Marvel Universe Set to Release ‘Black Widow’

July continues with a few new and classic films to choose from at local theaters. WEMU’s David Fair connects with Michigan Theater Foundation Executive Director Russ Collins to discuss new cinematic offerings and the latest news from the film industry.


As the festival kicked off in a most unusual year, filmmakers and industry insiders pondered the future of the venture.

“We are here.” These three simple words might have sounded down-to-earth at a previous edition of the Cannes Film Festival. But when artistic director Thierry Fremaux used them to greet a room full of filmmakers, actors and other members of the international film community at a dinner party on the festival’s opening night, they were greeted with loud applause. Much of the festival jury, led this year by Spike Lee, circulated the room, from Maggie Gyllenhaal to director Mati Diop, preparing for 10 days of a three-movie-a-day regime that would culminate in their deliberation. For many, the gathering was an opportunity to talk as much about the past as the future, as they unpacked the strange ride of the past year and change.

This year’s festival comes with serious caveats. While the pandemic is still raging across the globe, major territories like China and South America have delayed their participation due to extreme quarantine restrictions on both sides. Still, to some extent, the first major event of the 74th edition felt like an immediate return to normal. The festival kicked off on Tuesday with a screening of documentary essayist Mark Cousin’s ‘The Story of Film: The New Generation’ (which acknowledges the impact of the pandemic on viewership habits) followed by the world premiere of the opera unconventional rock by Adam Driver “Annette” by Leos Carax. The screening of “Annette” was preceded by the usual red carpet fanfare, with Spike Lee dressed in a blinding pink Louis Vuitton suit as he opened the proceedings in an elegant opening ceremony from the stage of the Théâtre Lumière, where he was flanked by winner Jodie Foster (speaking impeccable French as she recalled her first time at Cannes with “Taxi Driver”), Pedro Almodovar and former Palme d’Or winner Bong Joon Ho. Their union on stage didn’t exactly prove that the films had fully recovered that much, despite worrying about the future and slowdowns in production, they were still there. “Maybe the festival had a break, but the cinema never stopped,” Bong, who finished her last script in January, told the audience in Korean.

As usual, the Cannes crowd seems eager to gather to discuss the nature of an art form still defined by its unstable relationship to commerce. Film festivals remain an island platform for film that may or may not succeed with wider audiences. Meanwhile, the worldwide success of Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” after its Cannes launch in 2019 initially created speculation that the festival could continue to catapult international filmmaking talent to global recognition, and that cliffhanger hung on the wall. during the strange year to come. Yet even if the bulk of films at Cannes fail to become crossover hits, the festival’s focus goes beyond that metric. Unlike in the United States, festivals like Cannes are publicly funded and exist in part as a kind of cultural imperative to keep cinema alive. This concept may have seemed valuable in the pre-COVID era, but now it is essential.


“I carry you with me” — OPENS FRIDAY, JULY 9 IN MICHIGAN

AN ACCLAIMED 2020 SUNDANCE FILM. Based on true love, this decades-long romance begins in Mexico between an aspiring chef (Armando Espitia) and a teacher (Christian Vazquez). Their lives start over in incredible ways as social pressure drives them to embark on a treacherous journey to New York with dreams, hopes and memories in tow. Directed by Heidi Ewing (from Farmington Hills [Jesus Camp, Detropia]), based on a screenplay by Ewing and Alan Page Arriaga.


In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) confronts the darker parts of his ledger when a dangerous conspiracy from his past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must come to terms with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

It is an American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, it is the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The movie was directed by Cate Shortland (Australian screenwriter and director best known for ‘Sort Somersault’, ‘Lore’ and ‘Berlin Syndrome’) from a screenplay by Eric Pearson. Stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow alongside Florence Poug, David Harbor, OT Fagbenle, Guillaume Blessé, Ray Winstonand Rachel Weisz. Set after “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), the film sees Romanoff on the run and forced to confront her past.

Scarlett Johansson has starred in several MCU films starting with “Iron Man 2” (2010). Work began in late 2017 and director Cate Shortland was hired in 2018. Filming took place from May to October 2019 in Norway, Budapest, Morocco, Pinewood Studios in England, Atlanta and Macon, Georgia. It is the first film in the MCU’s Phase Four and has been delayed three times from an original May 2020 release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Roadrunner: a film about Anthony Bourdain” — OPENS FRIDAY, JULY 16 IN THE STATE

This is not where you are going. It’s what you leave behind… Chef, writer, adventurer, provocateur: Antoine Bourdain lived his life shamelessly. This film is an intimate behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. From the Oscar®-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (“20 Feet From Stardom,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”), this unwavering look at Bourdain resonates with his presence, his own voice, and the way he indelibly marked the world around him. surrounded.





CINEMA CLASSICS – Sundays and Tuesdays

NT Live: “The curious incident of the dog during the night” — THURSDAY, JULY 22 IN MICHIGAN

One night event! Captured live from the National Theater in London, this critically acclaimed production directed by Marianne Elliott (“Angels in America”, “War Horse”) amazed audiences around the world and received seven Olivier and five Tony Awards®. Fifteen-year-old Christopher stands next to Mrs Shears’ dead dog. He’s been stabbed with a pitchfork, it’s seven minutes after midnight, and Christopher is a suspect. He records every fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of Wellington’s killer. He has an extraordinary brain, exceptional in math, although he is ill-equipped to interpret everyday life.


“Summer of Soul (or when the revolution couldn’t be televised)”

In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and moving documentary, part musical film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated black history, culture and fashion. Over six weeks in the summer of 1969, just 100 miles south of Woodstock, the Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed at Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The images have never been seen and largely forgotten, until now. The film highlights the importance of history for our spiritual well-being and testifies to the healing power of music in times of trouble, past and present. The feature includes previously unreleased concerts from Stevie Wonder, nina simone, Sly and the Family Stone, Gladys Knight and the glitches, The basic singers, mahalia jackson, BB King, The 5th Dimensionand more.

“In the Heights”

It is an upcoming American musical drama film directed by Jon M Chu of a screenplay Quiara Alegria Hudes. It is based on the musical Lin-Manuel Miranda. movie stars Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkin, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IVand jimmy smith.

Lights up on Washington Heights… The smell of a caliente cafecito wafts through the air just outside the 181st Street subway station, where a kaleidoscope of dreams unites this vibrant, tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable and magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.

“The Truffle Hunters”

Deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, a handful of men, in their seventies or eighties, hunt the rare and expensive Alba white truffle, which so far has resisted all efforts. culture of modern science. They are guided by a secret culture and training passed down from generation to generation, as well as the noses of their beloved, expertly trained dogs. They live a simpler, slower way of life, in harmony with their faithful animals and their perfect land, seeming straight out of a fairy tale. They are not tethered to cell phone screens or the internet, opting instead to make their food and drinks by hand and prioritizing in-person and community connections.

The demand for white truffles is increasing year after year, even though the supply is decreasing. As a result of climate change, deforestation and the lack of young people to take up the torch, the secrets of the truffle growers are more coveted than ever. However, as it soon becomes clear, these aging men may hold something far more precious than even this prized delicacy: the secret to a rich and meaningful life.

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— David Fair is WEMU’s News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU. You can contact David at 734.487.3363on Twitter @DavidFairWEMUor email him at

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